Let’s Talk About Leather!

sewing with leather by thisblogisnotforyou.comThree weeks ago I sewed with real leather for the first time. And after three weeks, that brief affair is coming to an end. Two souls alas! are dwelling in my breast.

At first I loved leather. Leather smelled good. Leather looked fancy. Leather liked me. Cutting through leather was such a joy.

And then I began sewing. Marilyn* doesn’t like leather. It’s sticky (imagine going down a slide with naked buttocks, not that I have tried this!) and it’s hard to sew through when you have more than three layers. I ended up having to sew A LOT of seams by hand. Not that I don’t like that in general. I love me some monotonous hand sewing after a stressful day! BUT. Sewing leather by hand is NOT fun. After three weeks my fingers hurt. My wrists hurt and the index finger and thumb on my right hand have been trembling and twitching uncontrollably for the last three days.

Last but not least, being almost done with the project, the leather ripped. I HATE YOU LEATHER. I thought it might be the real thing, but you do nothing but causing me pain.

Well, I have plenty of leather left and some really cool projects planned with it. But my hands need some time to recover. In the meantime, I thought I could ask you guys to flood me with tips and tricks about sewing with leather.

I use a leather needle and embroidery thread and sew the leather sandwiched between two sheets of tissue paper in order to feet it through my machine. I glue a lot of seams before I sew it, since pinning is not an option.

Are there more tricks? Are there special presser feet that are good for sewing with sticky materials? Do you have to add interfacing to all seams to prevent ripping? (I saw that was done in the coat I recycled but couldn’t be bothered to do that myself.)

I’m actually surprised that my cheapo-AEG sewing machine survived the whole thing since she can be quite a diva (I still adore you, Marilyn!).

So what are your experiences sewing with leather? Is it easier to work with faux/PVC leather?

Do you know any good blog posts or other online sources that have helpful information on sewing with that tricky bastard? Any help much appreciated.

Happy Sewing!

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* my sewing machine (yes, I name everything)

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Leather!

  1. I can’t give you any advice because I have never sewn with leather (I don’t want to after reading your post). But I feel sorry that you had so much troubles with sewing leather, especially because I convinced you to buy this beautiful piece of leather to make a bag! I hope that wasn’t what ripped?! Happy sewing nonetheless!!! By the way, are you still free next Saturday?

    1. Luckily it wasn’t the expensive one! That one I will probably only sew by hand. It was the leather coat I recycled. I don’t quite know how old the leather was and whether it had been treated nicely over the years, so this might also be the reason for ripping.

      And yes! Of course! I just wrote a wayyy too long shopping list 😛

  2. Hi,
    my leather projects are limited to bags and totes. It is also important to use a long stitch, otherwise the leather will be too harmed and therefore it could rip. Faux leather is less problematic, you could embroider this because the back is consolidated with gossamer but with leather it’s problematic.

    Good luck next time

    Elke

  3. I have sewn with leather many years ago a few times. I did everything you did and still had all the problems you had. I think professionally sewn leather is sewn of those massive industrial just for leather machines. This is not much help … I gave up and like you sewed it by hand!

    1. Well. at least I’m not the only one! 😀 So I guess it’s really because I would need a professional machine. Will have to keep sewing by hand then. x

  4. My, that doesn’t sound nice… that’s an interesting post since I’ve been thinking of sewing something from leather, too. So these problems occurred even when using a leather needle (which I assume you did)?
    (By the way, there seems to be some truth to the soulmate-thing I said in the previous comment rather jokingly: Just like you, I usually don’t like floral ornaments, and my sewing machine has a name, too, haha. I’ll certainly keep watching this blog =D)

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